Head coach John Harbaugh announced Friday that defensive tackle Kelly Gregg will miss at least two weeks with a knee injury – the same knee that kept him out of the entire preseason.
Harbaugh said it was an issue with the knee's cartilage
"What it amounts to is he's got kind of a hole in his cartilage that rubs a little bit bone to bone," the coach explained to the media after Friday's practice. "Because of that, he's actually got a real sensitive spot on his bone."
At 6-feet, 310 pounds, Gregg basically re-injures the bone every time he bursts out of his stance into a blocker. The best treatment is rest, according to Harbaugh.
"It's when he unloads on a block, that's when he feels the pain on it," Harbaugh said. "It's almost like a scab on your bone and it tears the scab off, so we've got to basically ice him. He's getting treatment. He's working like crazy, but there's no work that you can do to get this thing healed other than just healing."
Gregg will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis upon his return, while seventh-year defensive tackle Justin Bannan will start in his place next to hulking former first-round draft pick Haloti Ngata.
"When we brought Justin in [as a free agent], it was to be a starter," said defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. "So we thought he was a starter in this league and we liked the way he played, and we still do."
Ryan added with a chuckle, "April came around and we ended up drafting some guy out of Oregon [Haloti Ngata], and somebody had to go on the bench because there's only two spots there."
Bannan has started three games since joining the Ravens in 2006, but many within the organization have lauded his efforts on the field. In the past two seasons, Bannan went from 20 tackles and no sacks to 37 tackles and two sacks.
In Baltimore's 2008 regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, Bannan notched four stops and one of two Ravens sacks.
"We're all confident in our guys," Bannan said. "We come out each week and prepare how we want to prepare. We've got a great group of guys, a very cohesive unit.
"Obviously, it's tough losing a guy like Kelly. He's definitely a leader on that line, but we have guys who can step in and handle it."
With Cleveland coming to M&T Bank Stadium this weekend sitting at a winless 0-2, Harbaugh was asked if he felt the Browns might use any trick plays to catch the Ravens off-guard.
While there is always a chance for those, practicing for them is difficult.
"The thing about the gimmick plays is you can't prepare for them, really, other than playing good, solid, technique football, especially on the back end [by] keeping your eyes where they're supposed to be," Harbaugh said. "That goes for special teams, as well. Our guys hopefully will be tuned in to that."
Still, Harbaugh doesn't expect Cleveland to force gadget plays to add a notch in the win column.
"The Browns aren't going to be thinking that they need to come here and gimmick their way to victory," he stated. "The Browns are a very good football team, and they're going to come in here with the idea that they can beat the Ravens."
In addition to Gregg listed as being out, quarterback Troy Smith is still out with an illness.
Cornerback Fabian Washington (neck) was listed as doubtful for Sunday's contest, but he was limited in practice Friday.
Linebacker Nick Greisen missed his first practice of the week with a leg injury. Greisen is listed as questionable.
The Ravens/Browns game will be officiated by longtime NFL veteran Ed Hochuli, who has recently come under scrutiny for what he and the league acknowledged as a botched call in last week's game between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. Hochuli blew his whistle after Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler fumbled the football, ruling the play dead even though San Diego recovered. Denver ended up scoring the winning touchdown and two-point conversion because of the call. "The only comment I would even make is that Ed is one of the best officials in football," Harbaugh said. "He's got a great body of work. So we respect him, and we know he's going to call a great game."…The Browns gave 350 tickets back to the Ravens, which means there are some tickets still available for the game. They can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com or by calling 410-547-SEAT.